The world in space fascinates everyone. And then there’s life in space. Humans who travel to outer space for exploration, scientific study, uniting various nations, ensuring humanity’s future existence, and developing various military and strategic advantages over other countries need a place to stay and work. With zero gravity and zero pressure in space, with a hostile atmosphere and a large temperature difference, how will they be able to work? With air and water, Earth makes living easy, yet nothing is typical in space. Astronauts experience homesickness, which can have a negative impact on their mental health. So, there should be a place where the habitats in space should feel worth living. Places where there are extreme weather conditions with very harsh environments also need a place to live and work. So, who makes all these structures? As a result, aeronautical architecture emerges.

Aeronautical architecture is defined as the architectural design of non-habitable and habitable structures, as well as living and working environments, in aerospace-related facilities, habitats, and vehicles. This environment includes science platforms, aircraft, and aircraft, among other things. Systems that can be deployed, Spacecraft, space stations, habitats, and lunar and planetary surface building sites are all on the drawing board. Control, experimentation, launching, logistics payload, simulation, and test facilities are all areas where architects are involved. Antarctic deserts, extreme altitudes, subterranean oceanic conditions, and isolated ecological systems are all possible Earth analogs for space applications and aeronautical architecture. 

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Mars Ice home_©SpaceArchitect.org

The Beginning 

Architects and industrial designers began actively participating in the aircraft industry in the 1960s. The Salyut 1 space station, which launched in 1971, was designed by Vladimir Chelomey’s studio in the Soviet Union. In the United States, industrial designer Raymond Loewy persuaded NASA in 1968 to incorporate a ‘window’ in the Skylab space station (which flew in 1973), so astronauts could look out and watch the Earth. Engineers dominated the early stages of human space flight, proving out the essential transportation and life support systems, but architects soon saw their role in building space stations and planetary bases. For capsule design, NASA depended on their crew systems division, and in the early 1970s, a few architecture students broadened the scope by defending graduate thesis on space station concepts.

NASA’s interest in developing a space station near the end of the decade highlighted the necessity for architectural-level thinking. This shattered the glass ceiling for aerospace support companies that wanted to hire an architect. Later, the Space Station Freedom program opened the door to more collaboration between NASA architects, the larger contractor community, and academics in the developing profession of Aeronautical Architecture.

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Deployable Modular Frame_©SpaceArchitect.org

The necessity for architects to be involved in the space program is to answer astronauts’ needs, which include, but are not limited to basic survival requirements. Aeronautical architecture also entails the application of architectural concepts to the use of space. The main problem of living in space has led to primarily practical habitat design, with little or no ornamentation. As a result, with modern architecture, aeronautical architecture primarily follows the form follows function principle.

Living and working in extra-terrestrial habitats means being potentially well vulnerable to a very harsh environment, social and psychological conditions. For all these factors, such as safety, productivity, environmental issues, the design, appearance, and function of these structures need a lot of consideration. Furthermore, technological parameters such as space, weight and drag minimization, and propulsion efficiency highly dictate and restrain the boundaries of the design. Producibility, dependability, flyability, inspect ability, flexibility, repairability, operability, durability, and airport compatibility, are all factors to consider while designing the atmospheric structure. 

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Juan carlos 1 Spanish Antarctic base_©SpaceArchitect.org

Education and Career 

Aerospace-related professions now employ a considerable number of architects and interior designers. They are active in a wide range of space-related projects from mission planning through testing. The purpose remains the same: to offer living and working conditions that protect and enhance the people’s quality of life. The fundamental task is to learn everything you can about the environment you’re designing for, whether it’s on or off the planet, and to come up with innovative ways to deal with it. This field of study is still in its development. The majority of space architecture work is now done by government space agencies and major aerospace companies. Understanding the space environment and its impact on human health and environmental design is critical. From regular terrestrial environments to the harsh environment of space, the architect must be able to research technical design expertise.

A professional degree in architecture (B.Arch./ M.Arch./ Industrial Design) is also required. She or he must also become knowledgeable about all aspects of human space travel. There are only a few institutions that provide space architecture education and this is expanding as many people are showing interest in the field. Space architecture will become a fast-growing business in the coming years, with significant demand for its expertise. Architects will be able to come up with increasingly complex solutions to the issues of living in space as a result of a variety of scientific and technical developments projected during the next decade.

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Scott Base_©SpaceArchitect.org

References:

Wikipedia. (2021). Aerospace architecture. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerospace_architecture 

Anon, (2021). BECOME A SPACE ARCHITECT | SpaceArchitect.org. [online] Available at: http://spacearchitect.org/how-to-become-a-space-architect/ 

Wikipedia. (2021). Space architecture. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_architecture 

Kumar Biswajit Debnath. (PDF) Living beyond earth: the architectural features of human habitats in extreme environments of space and other planetary surfaces. [online] Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269167952_Living_beyond_earth_the_architectural_features_of_human_habitats_in_extreme_environments_of_space_and_other_planetary_surfaces

Author

Dedipya believes that Architecture is like music to our eyes and Writing is a way of building those unforgettable spaces. She thinks that writing brings a connection between people and Architecture. Reading and sketching are something that she never gets bored of.

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